As lovely as it feels to snuggle up in a warm blanket on a cool evening, it can be difficult to situate a blanket so that your hands are free to read, sew, type or flip the channels. A fleece wrap keeps your neck, shoulders and arms warm while leaving your hands free. Patch pockets are ideal for storing reading glasses, a book, an iPod, a phone or the remote. Fleece fabric is very forgiving and easy to sew, making this project perfect for beginners or easy to whip up when you need a gift on short notice.
Things You'll Need
Polar fleece, 2 yards
Chalk or disappearing marker
Cut two strips of polar fleece, 68 inches by 21 inches. Most fleece is 60 inches wide and has more stretch going across the fabric (between the selvages) than down the length (between the cut edges). Make sure that the short side of your fabric has the stretch. Also be sure to trim the selvage before measuring and cutting.
Cut two pieces of fleece, 8 inches by 6 inches, for the pockets. The 8-inch side should have the most stretch. Since the edges of the pockets will show, you can use pinking shears or decorative scissors to cut the pockets.
Lay one pocket piece wrong side up with the short edge on the top. On the short edge, fold 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric and pin. Sew a 1/4-inch seam. Repeat for the other pocket. This hemmed edge will be the top (open part) of the pocket.
Lay one of the long strips of fleece with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and mark the center a few inches from each end. Make the marks on the right side of the fabric.
Using the marks as a guide, center a pocket on each end of the wrap. The bottom of the pocket should be approximately 12 inches from the edge of the fabric and the hemmed edge of the pockets should be facing the center of the wrap. If desired, try the wrap on and adjust the position of the pockets up or down as necessary. Pin the pockets in place with the right side of the pockets and the wrap facing up.
Sew the two pockets in place using a 1/4-inch seam. The raw edges of the pockets will be exposed, but fleece doesn't fray and the decorative edge will give the pockets an interesting look.
Pin the two long strips of fleece together with the right sides facing. Starting about 3 inches from the end, sew a 1/2-inch seam down one long edge and stop 4 inches from the other end. Repeat for the other long edge.
Turn the wrap right-side out. Draw a line 4 inches up from each short end. Pin along these lines.
Top stitch across the line you just marked, down one long side, across the line on the other short end, then back down the other long side.
Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut 1/2-inch strips on each short end of the wrap. The cuts should end about 1/4 inch from the short seam. This will form a fringe on each end of the wrap.
Personalize the wrap by making the pockets from a coordinating color or print or edge the pockets with lace. Embroider on the pockets or the body of the wrap before sewing the two pieces together. Use the leftover fleece to make a matching throw pillow, microwave neck pillow or fleece socks or slippers. You also can use the leftovers to make chemo caps or winter hats to be donated to the homeless. Fleece is very easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried. Do not wash with cotton to avoid pilling.